How Are You Dealing With Your Climate (by Jen Wagner)

Woke up this morning to a cold rainy day in California. The kind of day where you cuddle back under the blankets and grab your ipod touch to check on twitter before you brave the cold. (46 is cold in Southern California, truly it is)

And there I see a tweet from my pal @glassbeed (Clarence Fisher) talking about walking to school and it is -30. So I questioned him on what he was wearing…..which was quite a lot (Full winter gear = ski pants, toque, heavy jacket, mitts, Sorel boots) and realized that he was ready for that kind of climate……he had what he needed to deal with that kind of cold.

And because of that quick twitter conversation today – here is my post for today.


How often at conferences do we talk about what teachers can do in their rooms or in their computer labs but we never really stop to see what their “climate” is and if they have the right equipment to deal with the options we toss at them as “this is easy, anyone can do it!”

My campus has 2 climates. Our High School lab is brand new computers with 2 gb of ram each, video cards with extra memory, and an abundance of software options. Our elementary lab is one-half 3 year old computers with 1gb of ram and the other half is 10 year old computers with 384 to 512 ram. The teacher has Office, Kidspiration, Pixie 2, and the internet at her fingertips.

So I send both of these teachers to a local conference to find out about ways to improve their classroom when using the opportunities that a computer can offer. One of these teachers will probably come back and be able to do EVERYTHING that was presented while the other probably cannot be as successful.

And I wonder if……..

It might be helpful for presenters to consider that many of the tools that are showcased at conferences are probably being blocked on the network level. It might be beneficial for all presenters to start sharing some ideas of conversations that the teachers can have with their admin/IT in getting sites unblocked. For some, nothing will change the IT’s mind but for others……knowing the right words to say just might warm up their options a bit.

Also, many of the tools that are showcased at conferences are current “the newest” version. For our school – we are still using Office 2003 – and I know we are not the only ones doing so. When demonstrating software, consider sharing a variety of version options or at least provide cheat sheets from previous versions on your list of resources. Not everyone has the luxury or even the desire to always be upgrading.

But then my thoughts also turn to the teachers who are struggling….

As a teacher, with classroom computers that are outdated, or a computer lab that is lacking, you have 2 decisions. One is to be continually frustrated and probably also unproductive or secondly to deal with what you current have, but always strive to improve as often as you can.

There are grants out there to be won. There are companies that will donate equipment if you can and ask. There are many families getting new computers this holiday season and might just be willing to donate their computers to your school. There are options……there are possibilities!! You just need to be creative, be persistent, and always on the lookout.

I also encourage teachers to be vocal about their needs. However, I don’t think teachers should use students as pawns to prove a point and also don’t believe you should let anything disrupt you from doing your job as a good teacher and using whatever options you have available regardless of what they are.

So what do you do as you deal with your current climate…..

It is important to remember that one does NOT have the ability to control climate but you do have control on how you prepare and adapt with dealing with that climate. And to remember that climates can change …. So for those of you who are in the winter of your lab, don’t despair, hopefully spring will eventually come!!

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